Hawks have plenty to build off of despite tough opening loss

Viera boys soccer drops opener at Melbourne


Viera High goalkeeper James Leonard came up with a number of big saves during the Hawks' season opener against Melbourne.


The Viera High boys soccer team certainly didn’t waste any time challenging itself this season.

The Hawks hit the road to take on perennial district champ and state title contender Melbourne in its season opener on Tuesday. And while the Hawks played well overall, a late defensive mistake gave the Bulldogs’ Bryson Smith the shot he was looking for and the Melbourne senior delivered to send the Hawks to a 1-0 defeat.

“Three games in a row now, we’ve lost (to them) 1-0,” Viera coach Nick Robinson said. “It just comes down to momentary lapses of concentration. You can’t give good players a sniff and we’ve done that now all three times.

“It hurts and it hurts the boys when you make a mistake like that that you don’t normally make.”

Despite the loss, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Hawks.

Junior goalkeeper James Leonard had a great night, making several big-time saves against the Bulldogs attack. The Hawks, who were missing several key starters, also had a couple of good looks at the net themselves, but couldn’t break through.

“Definitely a lot to be proud of,” Robinson said. “First game of the season with a young team. There was definitely a lot to get excited about. James (Leonard) had a great game.”

The next big challenges for the Hawks will come on Dec. 7 and Dec. 15 when they visit Heritage and Sebastian River in what will be key district games.

If Viera can win both of those meetings, they will likely earn the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and face an easier road to the district title game and a likely rematch with Melbourne.

So while it was a tough opener for the Hawks, it was also a night they can use to build off of for the rest of the season.

“It’s definitely good this year to (play) the standard of the league, the standard of our district, the standard of the area to know where we are,” Robinson said.

“… We’re right there. That’s three times in a row 1-0. The boys just have to grow up fast. They’ve got to learn from it.”